New York: More Gay Men Injecting Meth
January 18, 2005
Some New York City needle-exchange programs report seeing more men who have sex with men (MSM) injecting crystal methamphetamine.Adapted from:
Positive Health Project began seeing more MSM meth injectors in 2004, said Rafael Ponce, director of health promotion services. Beginning Jan. 21, PHP's facility at 301 W. 37th St. will offer "drop-in hours" on Fridays between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. for MSM with concerns about meth. PHP has asked some gay sex clubs to help publicize its needle-exchange program and other services.
The Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center has also seen an increase in MSM clients injecting meth. Sam Orlando, vital service care coordinator, and another employee have attended gay sex clubs and private parties to demonstrate proper injection techniques.
Staff of both agencies said that while MSM injectors usually understand they should not share needles, they may not know that sharing other items used to prepare meth for injection also poses a risk for HIV transmission. The practice of "booty-bumping" -- using a needleless syringe to inject a meth solution into the anus -- is of special concern as it can damage the colon, and, if followed by unsafe sex, facilitate HIV transmission.
The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also reports more MSM shooting meth. The department's Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Disease Control Dr. Isaac Weisfuse recently told the New York Assembly's committees on alcoholism, drug abuse and health that "use of crystal meth appears to be increasingly associated with high-risk injection practices, which transmit hepatitis C."
"It started out everyone was snorting and if you smoked it you were an addict," one former user said last year. "Then everyone was smoking it and if you shot it you were an addict. ... The last time I went out, everyone was shooting."
Gay City News
01.13.05; Duncan Osborne
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.